a buddy of mine is at Hedgebrook these days. though it’s only been a few months since my time in the woods, writing in a cottage all to myself, my own time there feels worlds away (and yet the creative inspiration from my time there is so rich and near). i am already beginning to forget details, and am so grateful for the journal i kept while there. may i never really forget that time, despite and because of its painful, exhilarating intensity.
but time has gone by, and now i relive the place through my friend. in a sense, as i read her messages from the writing colony, and read her blog posts, i feel almost motherly (or sisterly?) about her experiences: i was there! and now she is there too! is she making the most of her time? what advice do i have to give her? geez, i feel nostalgic!
so many of her experiences are awakening memories that have just recently gone to nap. most recently, she emailed me from the pump house there, concluding with, “okay i gotta get dressed (i came straight to pumphouse from the bath house).”
(the pump house is where the rickety computers are, and it is across a gravel path from the bath house where the showers are).
would you believe that line brought me tons of delight?
i remembered my own rushed emails in the pump house typing away on my laptop plugged into the ethernet connection there, dressed in a robe that smelled faintly of the smoke from the wood-burning stove in my cottage.
i remembered one of the GREATEST pleasures of being at Hedgebrook: walking around the woods in my robe, freshly showered, feeling alone in Eden. it was an altogether unique feeling, like i was truly at home. because it’s an all-women’s writing colony, i could have walked around naked if i wanted to (and ahem, at one point, on a dare, i did just that in acknowledgement of the summer solstice).
the forest was an extension of “inside space,” and i walked through the mossy paths with my flip flops, my hands in the pockets of my terry robe, my hair still wet from the shower, feeling the occasional breeze rush up my naked legs, much as i would walk through my bedroom at home.
it was such a delicious feeling to feel the forest was a part of my daily, routine space. what was outdoors and what was indoors anymore? it had all blended in my experience: the mossy floor of the forest was a carpet, a tree trunk was a seat, the cedar boughs were an awning from the drizzle or sunshine. it WAS a part of my daily, routine space–i had to walk through the forest to take a shower, to check my email, to go eat dinner. it was a really really cool feeling–and now my friend is feeling it, and i get to relive it through her. her story is affecting my own story.
this is the beauty of story–that we are forever changed from our own experiences, and then we tell our story and change someone else, too.